– Youthful exuberance, Christian Bolstad calls it. He was only 25 years old when he came across Fjordslottet Hotell at Osterøy on the south-western coast of Norway, borrowed the entire asking price and bought it in 2007. But a dream came true, and it would turn out to be a happy choice …
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Fjordslottet Hotell
He had worked in the hospitality business for a few years already, but it quickly became a lifestyle. And when the occupational therapist Ann came to the hotel as a guest, it didn’t take long until he had a hostess at his hotel as well. The couple married, and four years ago they moved out to Fjordslottet – the fjord palace. They wanted to live there in order to be the best hosts they could be, and put their own personal mark on the hotel and hospitality.
A 45 minute drive from Bergen, Fjordslottet is situated in beautiful Fotlandsvåg, a village with a population of about 250. Fjordslottet was built in 1851 as a mansion for the Bergen merchant Carl Joachim Hambro. He started a cotton mill in Fotlandsvåg, and though he couldn’t make it a success, his heirs did very well and the mill has brought a lot of benefits to the village over the years. The manor house was a happy home for several families before it was renovated and turned into a hotel in 1997. Two more guest houses were also built on the property. Today they have 40 guest rooms, large outside areas, wonderful gardens and good event and conference facilities.
Famed for their fare
More and more guests want to visit Fjordslottet, and it has seen a 170 per cent increase in the number of staying guests since 2006. The owners don’t really want to expand further, but rather make the hotel experience even better, and have redecorated their rooms one by one.
The lounges and salons in old stately style are a cosy meeting point where guests can relax and enjoy the magnificent view of the fjord and the mountains outside.
Ann and Christian Bolstad like to visit other hotels to get tips and advice on what they can do to please their guests. In spring they go on a week’s holiday abroad to find new inspiration and new ideas. They want each guest to be seen and welcomed, and try to think about what they appreciate the most when they are traveling, such as good food. At Fjordslottet tables are always set with white cloths and candles, the food is always homemade and the wine is good.
“We are famous for five secret sauces,” says Christian, “a homemade apricot and lemon sauce, a tomato sauce, a garlic and honey sauce, a sweet herb vinegar and a herb sauce.” And the recipes … well, that is a company secret.
Chef Marek King has been at the hotel since 2006, he always focuses on the produce and ingredients and loves to cook from scratch. That has made the hotel renowned for its delicious food and wonderful flavours. The hosts hope and believe that their food will be an experience guests will be talking about for a long time afterwards.
There are also exciting experiences to try, such as GPS activity trail, archery, fishing, trips to the fjord and mountains. Guests who would rather get comfortable in a good chair and enjoy the food, wine and scenery in peace and quiet will also find that Fjordslottet Hotell is a good place to be.